It broke my heart to leave Assisi, there is a covering of grace in that town; one feels the presence of St Francis and St. Clare, I wished I had planned to stay longer. But, I had reservations in Loreto, so I packed my suitcase again and reluctantly took off for the train station. I was headed to Loreto; I knew nothing about Loreto, I included it on my itinerary because it was on the way to San Giovanni Rotunda, which I wanted to see very much. I had planned to go south to the Amalfi Coast, but since this is a Catholic pilgrimage, I felt compelled to visit Loreto after I read the stories and learned of the shrine. The train ride was captivating, I passed through Umbria and on to the Adriatic coast.
I zoomed past the coast at more than 100 miles per hour on the train to Loreto.
Waiting for the bus at the train station in Loreto – I still had no idea what to expect and I still missed Assisi.
Loreto is at the top of a steep hill overlooking the countryside.
There is roof access from my hotel, here is the view from my roof – stunningly beautiful.
There was a farmers’ market in the center of the town, right outside my hotel; I wished I had a kitchen so I could try cooking some of the fresh vegetables.
It was hard to find anyone who speaks English so I meandered towards the giant dome I guessed must be the basilica.
There was a wide street that rounded around a steep incline leading to the basilica, the first thing I saw when I rounded the corner was this airplane. The people of Loreto are very proud of the air force base located just outside of town. Because of the legend of Loreto, Pope Benedict XV named the Holy Virgin of Loreto patroness of air travelers in 1920. She is invoked by pilots as their heavenly guardian.
As I continued up the hill toward the basilica I came to an outdoor shopping center.
20€ for new tennis shoes!!
Hand carved beauties
The other side of the road is lined with street cafes that smell heavenly.
Then, I arrived at the basilica completely skeptical of the story of Loreto.
I expected a small chapel, I did not expect a large basilica with a convent attached to it – my curiosity was piqued; what would I find in this beautiful place?
A street artist had adorned the piazza with beautiful chalk drawings.
Notice the cat?
Okay, there is more here than I expected; it’s time to learn why this basilica is here. It’s such a long story, I’ll save it for my next post.